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Predestination Part Two

by Sonny Childs

SonnyChildsDifficult Doctrines

Because of the complex nature of this subject and the need to see the harmony of the whole counsel of God, the answer to this question appears in four parts:

  1. What is the biblical definition of predestination?
  2. Can we impact our own predestination?
  3. How does predestination impact evangelism?
  4. What about Romans 9?

Part 2

Can we impact our own predestination?

In order to answer that question, another question must first be addressed – ” Is predestination the goal of God or is it the unchangeable assignment of God?”

Because of the teachings of Calvin and other leaders of the Reformation Movement, it is often assumed that all of God’s predestination is unchangeable. But is that so? Consider an interesting passage that not only describes the Holy Spirit’s definition of predestination but also the purpose of that predestination.

Acts 17:26-27 (NIV) “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. (Predestination, emphasis mine) 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Purpose of predestination, emphasis mine)

Notice again the words of verse 27, “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him…”

While this passage indicates that God certainly does manipulate certain parts of our existence, (“times,” “boundaries”) it also indicates that in spite of this predestination and His goal for us to “find him,” there is still a responsibility for us to “seek him” and “reach out for him.”

Notice a specific example of this found in the life of none other than Jesus Himself.

Q: Was Jesus predestined to die for our sins?

A: Yes! 1 Peter 1:18-21 (NIV) “He was chosen before the creation of the world…”

Q: Did Jesus have the option to change His predestination?

A: Yes! Matthew 26:39 (NIV) Jesus prayed in the garden, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Conclusion: Jesus had free will and responsibility in spite of His predestination.

Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV) “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

The free will choice that Jesus made in the garden (Matthew 26:39) was essential to Him becoming our perfect High Priest (Hebrews 4:15). Without having the potential to impact His own predestination, there would not have been any real temptation, any real sympathy for our weaknesses or any real need for the prayer to be said.

Consider one more insight.

We have all heard the phrase, “Prayer changes things!” But does it really?

James, the brother of Jesus, said this, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16, NIV) He then goes on to illustrate that kind of prayer, a prayer that can even impact the timeline of humanity. Elijah’s prayer was accepted by God and actually stopped the rain for three and a half years. (James 5:17-18)

 

Yes, mankind can literally change the mind of God and alter the course of the human timeline through prayer. Why pray if there is no hope of results? Why are we commanded to pray without ceasing if our words are not intended to have impact?

Conclusion

Yes, we do have the power to impact our own future! The Calvinistic view of predestination removes human responsibility, creates an entitlement culture within Christianity, and profanes the Divine image in which we were created. Beware of Reformed Theology (Calvinism repackaged) and the pretzel-like condition into which it twists Scripture to make the Bible say what Calvin wanted it to say.

 

E d. Note:  See 2016 December edition for the first article in this series.

 

The book, “Predestination: Confronting Reformed Theology” is available to you as a PDF (printable email). Please visit heybrothersonny.com/books.html. 

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Through the HeyBrotherSonny.com portion of my ministry, I am regularly blessed to offer biblical insight into the pressing questions of life. 

 

Questions come to me through email (sonny@sonnychilds.com), Facebook, text messages (870-565-5113), my postal address (PO Box 682, Paragould, AR 72451) and even through the game Words With Friends. If you have a question or comment, please feel free to use any of these mediums to contact me.

 

Some answers are posted to the website, HeyBrotherSonny.com, but most are sent out as a text message to a special group of people who are extra interested in Bible study. If you would like to join this text group and receive a brief Q&A text approximately once each week, please send me your phone number along with the words “Q&A Text Group.”




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